I will work with Thangam Thennarasu and Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, says Industries Minister T.R.B. Rajaa

As Thennarasu is the Finance Minister, we will need his support — and that of Information Technology Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan. We will need their help and support for the upcoming Global Investors Meet, which will focus on MoUs becoming actual businesses, says the newly-appointed Minister

May 13, 2023 12:55 am | Updated 12:22 pm IST

The Minister says there are plans to bring in investments to the south of Tamil Nadu.

The Minister says there are plans to bring in investments to the south of Tamil Nadu. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A day after debuting in the Tamil Nadu Cabinet and taking over as the Industries Minister, three-time MLA T.R.B. Rajaa is confident about the job on hand. In an interview to The Hindu on Friday, he says he will work as a team with Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu and Information Technology and Digital Services Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan. The focus is on next year’s Global Investors’ Meet (GIM).


The Chief Minister has allocated a key portfolio to you. This has evoked varied reactions. As a debutant in the Cabinet, are you confident of handling the Industries Department?

Industries is a subject that has been close to me. If you remember, even when we were in the Opposition, my first speech was on a budgetary demand for the Industries Department. I have spoken about the department twice or thrice. One of the last speeches of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the Assembly was during the debate on the demand for the Industries Department when she intervened after I pointed out that investments were not coming into the State. I was always interested in how the department works — because I believe this is one sector which brings in more investments that will help to create jobs. I think that creating jobs is as important as providing education. My leader M.K. Stalin had seen me perform as an Opposition MLA.

After the DMK government was formed, I was made a member of the State Planning Commission. This was a huge experience; here, as a team, we worked on several policies, including the electric vehicle policy, the tourism policy, the textile policy and the LGBTQI policy. We had a brilliant mix of people like Professor J. Jeyaranjan, vice-chairman of the State Planning Commission, and industrialist Mallika Srinivasan (who heads TAFE). It was a huge learning experience for me. All this helped me understand how the department and the system work.

We saw three crucial investments come into the State in the past week and former Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu has handed over the baton to you at a good run rate. How do you intend to take the race from here?

Who said he has left?! As he is the Finance Minister, we would need his support — and that of Information Technology and Digital Services Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan... We will need their support for the upcoming Global Investors Meet. This is a team work.

You mentioned about the GIM slated for January 2024. You had criticised the previous two GIMs. So how different will the first investors’ meet under the DMK government be?

If you look at the previous GIMs (2015 and 2019) conducted by the AIADMK government, all that they put out was mere numbers. We will focus on MoUs that will become actual businesses and create jobs. And, of course, any investors’ meet will have a few dropouts... In the last two years, the DMK government has been signing MoUs every three months.

The Chief Minister took part at various meetings and the highest number related to the Industries Department. And this shows how keen he is on bringing in investments... We have no targets for the upcoming GIM; our only target is to make the investments translate into jobs. We are looking at a large picture and 2024 will be a massive event. We have a team of Guidance Tamil Nadu working with the team of the Industries Department. When investors from other countries meet the Guidance Tamil Nadu team, they realise that it is a team of professionals who are actual investment seekers.

What are the key areas for you?

We are working on bringing in investments to the south of Tamil Nadu. Electric vehicle is one sector that we would focus on and R&D is another. We are also welcoming companies migrating from China. Tamil Nadu has good infrastructure to accommodate them.

We will focus more on our women workforce. We need women’s participation to achieve the target, set by our Chief Minister, of making the State a $1-trillion economy by 2030. The Chief Minister is very particular about providing more jobs to women. Demand for women labour will boom and we will have a good number to tell you soon.

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